General Writing and Grammar Help/What's your problem?


Dear Ted:

Do you ever use the question "What's your problem?"

If so, would you please give me some examples of when it is used?

Also, how common is the above question?

Many, many thanks for your kind help.


Dear Paolo:

Do you ever use the question "What's your problem?"

*** Yes.  The question is rather negative, in a sense.  

In some cases, it is just a simple [positive] question.  You bring your car to a mechanic and he ask, "What's your problem?"

However, the common usage of the phrase is to challenge someone for what he did or said.  You are expressing a negative comment.


John:  I don't like what this group is doing.
Jack:  What's your problem?

Another way of saying the same thing is "Do you have a problem with this [or me]?"

Another example:

Jim has consistently been a good student.  Lately, however, his grades have been falling.  He teacher says to him, "Jim what's your problem?"

Another example:

Everyone in the club plans to attend the party, except for Paul.  Someone asks Paul, "What's your problem?"


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Ted Nesbitt


I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.


I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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